Day 39, Not So Fast!

Over the past few days I’ve slowly moved away from intermittent fasting. On Tuesday I ate my first meal around 10:30 before going for a run at noon. Yesterday, when my manager brought in bagels and cream cheese to celebrate our successful launching of a project, I didn’t deny myself. And this morning I had a DnD egg-white flat bread turkey sausage sandwich.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I’m still counting macros and trying not to go over but I really like the “theory” behind intermittent fasting and it hasn’t been hard to follow for the past few months. On the other hand, I’m not really seeing any weight loss results so I wonder if intermittent fasting makes much of a difference.


Day 38. When to Press On and When to Change?

Fitness and diet plans require constant reevaluation to determine what’s working and what isn’t. But too often I find myself reevaluating too much. Many times I change my diet or workout simply because I’m bored or I need to make it easier/more convenient.

38 days have past since I started this blog and I’ve changed my diet twice and my workout plan three times. For the most part I feel these changes have helped, but not so much because they’ve made a huge difference but mostly because they allow me to be more consistent. And this is the key. Dropping 100 calories/day, increasing protein by 10 grams/day or switching to 3 sets of squats instead of five is not going to suddenly transform me into Mr. Olympia but it might make things a little easier to manage which in turn will keep me consistent and deter me from quitting.

2015-04-29 07.33.44Today I find myself contemplating another change to my workout. I hit 3 PRs today:

  • Squat: 195 x 4, 195 x 5, 195 x 4
  • Overhead Press: 95 x 5 x 3
  • Deadlift: 245 x 5 x 1

But I’ve failed to get 3 x 5 on the bench press twice in a row (primarily due to shoulder problems) and today I failed to get 3 x 5 on my squats. I think part of this is due to my recovery time. My hips and legs are still sore from Monday.

The other problem is that squats are taking a long time to finish. 10 minutes to stretch and warm up and another 15 minutes to do 3 work sets with rest. On days when I have to do bench and barbell rows there’s just not enough time and going back to finish at lunch isn’t always an option.

So I’m considering going back to a split, but the other voice I’m hearing in my head is telling me to suck it up and deal with it. Failure is normal and there’s no reason why I can’t keep squatting 3x/week. I will need to deload the weight but I can at least keep the frequency the same.

For better or worse I have 4 days to think about it since I won’t be able to go to the gym on Friday.

In other news, here are yesterdays macros. The numbers seem to jive this time.


Day 37. I can’t really tell.

On a whim I snapped a front shot of myself in the mirror at the gym yesterday. Comparing this to my front shots a month ago and from February, I’m not really seeing much of a difference. Part of the problem is that they’ve all been taken in different places at different times and with different lighting. But I would hope that I would see *SOMETHING* change. Looks like it’s time to start pushing the cardio!

February 2nd 2015

Chris Bellis 2015-02-02 - Front

March 22nd 2015
(7 weeks later and 3 weeks of no lifting)

2015-03-22 08.58.47

April 28th 2015
(5 weeks later)

2015-04-27 12.10.09

In this latest pic I appear to be a little more muscular but I think part of it is the shadows. Am I just being too critical? Does anyone see a difference?


Forgot to add my macros from yesterday:


On the surface these seem great until you do the math:

(242 x 4) + (57 * 9) + (168 * 4) = 2153, NOT 2058.

It’s hard to say whether MFP has calculation problems or if it’s just an issue with the user submitted data. UGH! Now I need to go back and check the rest…

Day 36, The emotional roller-coaster of dieting!

As promised I have tracked everything I’ve eaten over the past 3 days in MFP so that I could post the totals here. Friday and Saturday started out fine but the late evening hours always seem to screw everything up for me. In some cases I am legitimately hungry but otherwise I’m just bored. The other problem is that for some reason drinking some protein or eating a salad that late in the evening never appeals to me.

Here is Friday. The overage is directly related to the half-bag of jelly beans that I ate.


Here is Saturday. Everything looking good until I opened the chips.


Yesterday was odd. I fasted in the morning like I normally do, but when lunch came I wasn’t that hungry. By the end of the day I was eating within a calorie/protein deficit that I never pulled myself out of. I also went to bed early!


Meanwhile I also took my measurements yesterday and I’ve lost 2.5 inches off my waist since I started. Also my weight on the scale has been basically the same (+1/-1 back and forth), but my pants seem to fit looser.

This morning I wasn’t very psyched about squatting 190. Despite getting a good amount of sleep last night I was feeling pretty worn out and initially decided that I would just drop my work set to 135 and work on my form. But once I warmed up I was feeling pretty strong and ended up doing 190 x 5 x 3. Bench was difficult because of my sore shoulder I missed a rep on the last set of 180 (basically out of fear that I might drop the bar), so I will try that weight again next week.

I took so long on the squats between warm up and rest periods that I didn’t have time for barbell rows. So I went back at lunch to do them and added a bit of stretching afterward. I broke my fast early (10 am) so that I would have a bit of energy to head back to the gym for the 2nd time.

This week I want to add 2 cardio sessions (Tuesday and Thursday) and also try to fit in a 30 minute yoga routine at least once (but preferably twice). I basically decided over the weekend with all my aches and soreness that I’m not going to lift much heavier if I don’t do something to increase my mobility and the yoga should help.

Day 33, 2 new PRs!!!

Had a great session at the gym this morning. Logged 2 new PRs in Squat and Deadlift:

Squat 185 x 5 x 3. This is a big deal for me. Finally getting up to the 25 plate with good form. Took vids of all 3 sets. Here they are:

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

After my squats came overhead press 90 x 5 x 3, then on to the killer set of deadlifts 240 x 5. I warmed up with 135 x 5, 185 x 3 and 205 x 3 first. Here’s the vid:

I’m not happy with my form here. I think my back needs to be more neutral.

CaptureDiet-wise, my macros were pretty much on again yesterday. Fiber was a little low and I snuck a shortbread cookie after dinner because, well, it was the last one left in the box and I’m certainly not going to put the box back with only one cookie in it! I think I will keep posting these macro summaries every day in a effort to be more accountable.

Tonight there will be pizza, but I have planned accordingly and should be able to keep within my limits. Gotta love IIFYM!

Day 32, Novo Protein Bites!

I’m always on the hunt for anything salty/crunchy with a lot of protein. Quest Protein Chips have been satisfying this need. But today I went to GNC to get more and saw these Novo chips:

2015-04-23 14.58.46

The Quest chips definitely have more flavor but these have 2 things going for them that the Quest chips do not have.

1. More volume. Sometimes a snack attack is all about quantity over quality. You just want to stuff your face for a few minutes. These Novo chips allow you to do just that

2. More crunch. For an additional 7 grams of carbs you will notice the extra crunch on these. Sometimes that’s the most important thing!

These are definitely a keeper. I will be trying the sour cream and onion next time. The downside is that these chips are more expensive than Quest @ $18 for 6 bags instead of $18 for 8 bags so I will still be buying the Quest chips in bulk. But these are a great alternative when you have a snack attack!

Day 32, Why can’t I eat like this every day?

Clearly this is the question that plagues the modern human race. As evidenced by the abundance of diet books, supplements, nutritional counselors, drugs, surgical procedures and research, everyone is trying to figure out how to get the human race to eat in such a way that they can maintain a healthy weight.

31 macrosLook at these macros from yesterday. They’re almost perfect. A few too many carbs, but nothing that would sabotage any progress. Proper fiber levels were attained and sugar was kept pretty low. If I ate like this every single day I would eventually achieve all of my weight loss goals.

So why can’t I? That’s the question everyone asks. Partly it’s about variety. It’s hard to eat the exact same thing every day. But it’s also about emotional triggers. Modern society (myself included) has been conditioned to think that every meal needs to be a party. So if we’re dieting there are a lot less parties happening. Having a “party” meal 2 or 3 times a month or even as frequently as once a week isn’t really that bad. But if we could just condition ourselves to not expect this sort of emotional gratification from our food it would be so much easier to maintain our weight.

I would also submit that modern society is too obsessed with nutrition, calories and macro nutrients. These are terms that were only familiar to scientists 60 years ago. Back then the average person didn’t think about calories, protein, reading ingredients or nutritional labels. And guess what? The majority of these people were not even overweight (let alone clinically obese).

Now of course food has changed a lot in 60 years. Everything is processed which makes it easier and cheaper to produce and consume.  And this leads to a tendency to overeat. So it’s very difficult NOT to be obsessed with nutrition if you’re trying to be healthy.

And so now that I’m done “foodlosophizing” it’s time for lunch! I hope it’s a party!!